Why Bartering Doesn’t Work

Even though it makes sense in theory, bartering is actually one of the worst things you can do in your business… here’s why

Have you ever bartered your services? This is where you offer your services at no cost to someone and in exchange, they offer their services to you at no cost.

If yes, how did it work for you?

Personally, I believe that bartering is one of the worst things you can do as an entrepreneur in your small business.

In theory, bartering makes sense. Someone has something that you want and you have something that they want – it should work just fine – right? Wrong.

Bartering can work when it comes to exchanging products. However, bartering does not work when it comes to exchanging services. In fact, bartering is one of the worst things you can do in your small business.

Here’s why I feel so strongly about this – Bartering comes from a place of lack.

When someone asks if you want to barter with you, it essentially means that they are not willing to pay you for your services.

It could be because they don’t have the money, they think they don’t have the money or they simply don’t want to spend their money on you or your services.

Regardless of the reason, a bartering connection sets up a relationship based on lack, not a relationship based on expansion.

When someone pays you for your services and you pay them for their services, it’s a way of saying “I value you for what you’re bringing to the table”.    Money is simply a way to exchanging value.

And if you’re thinking, “I really like this person, maybe down the road they will pay me for my services.”, let me tell you, this is not likely to happen.

When you say yes to bartering, you are agreeing to work for free. Why would someone pay you for work down the road when you’ve already been willing to do it for free?

If you insist that you do value someone else’s services and you want to exchange their services for yours, do so by exchanging the same amount of money and being very clear about what you’re going to provide and what you will receive in exchange.

Personally, I’d like to encourage entrepreneurs to avoid bartering and putting themselves in a situation where they’re not getting paid to do the work that they specialize in doing.

If you’ve asked someone to barter or provide you with a discount, ask yourself why you aren’t willing to invest in their services? And, don’t be surprised if someone isn’t willing to pay you.

If you’ve ever bartered in your business, I’d love to hear from you. Did it work? What worked well or didn’t work? Please post your thoughts below.

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